WWSD

When it comes to hardmen, there aren’t many tougher than this guy. That he manages to mix massive amounts of V with similarly massive amounts of Casual Deliberation only serves to heighten the man-crushes of a bunch of older, fatter, balder men who see a visage of Spatacus looking back at us in the mirror every time we don lycra. We wish we could be him.

So I put myself into the mind of Fabs after his huge crash/broken back/ride anyway/forced to retire sequence the other day. The guy has had a lot of bad luck over the last few years, and as he gets to the twilight of his career, decisions need to be made. What Will Spartacus Do? Well, I don’t know, but I do know what Spartacus should do.

The only way for Faboo to go out is thus:

  • Take a break in the sun, drink rum, heal the injury and ride a scooter without a helmet. Try not to fall off.
  • Work off the fat from all the Mojitos and get training again.
  • Target the World Champs road race and win the bloody thing.
  • Look completely awesome in the rainbow bands (with black shorts) and win Lombardia.
  • Have a rest over winter, then train for one last Classics campaign.
  • Win Het Volk, E3, the Ronde and Roubaix while looking awesome in the bands.
  • Retire on the velodrome with a cobble in hand.
  • Un-retire. Break the Hour Record.
  • Replace fucking Jens on whatever commentary team I had to put up with listening to his shit the other night.

Shouldn’t be too big an ask.

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79 Replies to “WWSD”

  1. @SteelCamp

    Well, Phil, Jens, Bob, if you’re reading this I think you’re doing a great job.

    Seconded, and for what it’s worth, my opinion is the only one that matters. (And yours is also helpful, @SteelCamp)

  2. @Mikael Liddy

    I wax & wane when it comes to Faboo, when you see things like the other night there’s no end in sight to the man crush, but then he comes out whining about race conditions (see wet cobbles last year) and I begin to doubt myself again…

    I wax more than I wane on Fabs. He does show some moments of weakness, but I think they are most done at gunpoint when it comes down to career-limiting comments that he has to undo. The Rainy cobbles is a classic example; he talked some trash, he didn’t win, his team leader lost heaps of time, and then he had to do what he had to do in order to have a 2015.

    I mean, sure, I wish it wasn’t like that but we all know how brutal business is and Cycling is – sadly and thankfully – a business.

  3. @brett

    @SteelCamp

    But if you’re bashing someone from your computer chair who’s shoes you would kiss if you met them in person I have no respect

    Don’t think I’d be kissing Phil’s shoes if I met him.

    And I could do a better job than him, so could most people who can identify a rider and call his name correctly. Shit, we were doing it the other night… Us: “there goes Boom.”

    Phil: “That looks like Nibali” No Phil, Nibbles isn’t 6’2″ and he’s wearing a National Champs jersey and has No. 1 on his back.

    Well, someone’s gone straight to his own head, hasn’t he. I’ve heard you speak, it’s not as impressive as you think.

    As someone who’s done a load of public speaking in front of large audiences I will offer this observation: how it sounds in your own head while watching a video in a room alone or with some friends is a little different than how it comes out under the scrutiny of a live audience.

    I think we owe them all a lot of respect for paving a road long before internet video and live streaming was available, and for making themselves a element of the sport.

  4. @frank

    @brett

    @SteelCamp

    But if you’re bashing someone from your computer chair who’s shoes you would kiss if you met them in person I have no respect

    Don’t think I’d be kissing Phil’s shoes if I met him.

    And I could do a better job than him, so could most people who can identify a rider and call his name correctly. Shit, we were doing it the other night… Us: “there goes Boom.”

    Phil: “That looks like Nibali” No Phil, Nibbles isn’t 6’2″ and he’s wearing a National Champs jersey and has No. 1 on his back.

    Well, someone’s gone straight to his own head, hasn’t he. I’ve heard you speak, it’s not as impressive as you think.

    As someone who’s done a load of public speaking in front of large audiences I will offer this observation: how it sounds in your own head while watching a video in a room alone or with some friends is a little different than how it comes out under the scrutiny of a live audience.

    I think we owe them all a lot of respect for paving a road long before internet video and live streaming was available, and for making themselves a element of the sport.

    There is a certain comfort level when listening to Phil and Paul.  They have been commentators for the US broadcasts for so long that it will seem unnatural when they are no longer doing them, despite any perceived flaws.  They are commenting on a bicycle race, not providing ground control for Apollo 13.

  5. @frank

    I think we owe them all a lot of respect for paving a road long before internet video and live streaming was available, and for making themselves a element of the sport.

    40 year career as a cycling journalist and commentator — “My heart was in cycling, but I was racing against Eddy Merckx and I was nowhere in his class. I thought, ‘If I can’t be the very best, maybe I should take a job as a journalist.’ So I did.” – Phil Liggett

    The guy has merit — and he’s smart.

  6. @Mikael Liddy

    No offence, but it’s mainly his accent. Also, he is so monotone I find it hard to engage with what he’s saying. In his favour he seems quite knowledgeable, but he just grates on me I’m afraid.

    I’m no Phil and Paul fan these days – way too many fundamental errors and sadly well past their use-by date – but the tone and timbre of their voices are at least tolerable, and I can still enjoy screaming corrections at the screen. If Keenan is mainly right factually then all I can complain about is his voice…

    As for commentators I like, Dan Lloyd, Sean Kelly (when he’s not mumbling incoherently), Matt Stephens and David Millar are the best of the current crop in my opinion.

  7. @frank

    @brett

    @SteelCamp

    But if you’re bashing someone from your computer chair who’s shoes you would kiss if you met them in person I have no respect

    Don’t think I’d be kissing Phil’s shoes if I met him.

    And I could do a better job than him, so could most people who can identify a rider and call his name correctly. Shit, we were doing it the other night… Us: “there goes Boom.”

    Phil: “That looks like Nibali” No Phil, Nibbles isn’t 6’2″ and he’s wearing a National Champs jersey and has No. 1 on his back.

    Well, someone’s gone straight to his own head, hasn’t he. I’ve heard you speak, it’s not as impressive as you think.

    As someone who’s done a load of public speaking in front of large audiences I will offer this observation: how it sounds in your own head while watching a video in a room alone or with some friends is a little different than how it comes out under the scrutiny of a live audience.

    I think we owe them all a lot of respect for paving a road long before internet video and live streaming was available, and for making themselves a element of the sport.

    I wasn’t saying I have a good speaking voice… I’m Australian FFS, I’m cursed with the worst accent on earth. I meant that at least I can identify a rider in a bike race. Something Phil has lost the knack for, even if he was good at it 20 years ago. Time for him to leave.

  8. Ok ok that’s all well and good but I could listen to King Kelly comment on Le Tour all day on the EuroSport streams I’ve been clogging up the office bandwidth with.

  9. @Jay

    @frank

    @brett

    @SteelCamp

    But if you’re bashing someone from your computer chair who’s shoes you would kiss if you met them in person I have no respect

    Don’t think I’d be kissing Phil’s shoes if I met him.

    And I could do a better job than him, so could most people who can identify a rider and call his name correctly. Shit, we were doing it the other night… Us: “there goes Boom.”

    Phil: “That looks like Nibali” No Phil, Nibbles isn’t 6’2″ and he’s wearing a National Champs jersey and has No. 1 on his back.

    Well, someone’s gone straight to his own head, hasn’t he. I’ve heard you speak, it’s not as impressive as you think.

    As someone who’s done a load of public speaking in front of large audiences I will offer this observation: how it sounds in your own head while watching a video in a room alone or with some friends is a little different than how it comes out under the scrutiny of a live audience.

    I think we owe them all a lot of respect for paving a road long before internet video and live streaming was available, and for making themselves a element of the sport.

    There is a certain comfort level when listening to Phil and Paul.  They have been commentators for the US broadcasts for so long that it will seem unnatural when they are no longer doing them, despite any perceived flaws.  They are commenting on a bicycle race, not providing ground control for Apollo 13.

    Exactly; I can’t separate cycling from the voice of Phil Ligget, and I love him for it. And he embraced Paul as a partner which says all you need about his character.

  10. @frank

    Exactly; I can’t separate cycling from the voice of Phil Ligget, and I love him for it. And he embraced Paul as a partner which says all you need about his character.

    He also embraced Pharmy and covered for him for all those years. That says all I need about his character.

  11. @Oli a reasonable point, but not knowing how much exposure you guys across the ditch get to him, I do wonder whether that might be down to him being the warm up act for PnP tasked with covering the first hour or so of the TdF coverage before things tend to get exciting (generalising I know).

    From a commentary point of view, his ability to pick riders correctly is something he’s said he prides himself on, and against the backdrop of PnP he’s a very  refreshing change. Being an Aussie, SBS use him for the majority of their spring classics coverage, calling the race out of a tiny sound studio in Sydney, relying on the same pictures being broadcast on the worldwide feed. His calls of the two Milan-San Remos prior to this year were unbelievable in regard to knowing which black Gabba-clad rider was which.

    He’s also ridiculously approachable via social media, happy to engage just about anyone when it comes to cycling related queries & very ready to explain positions he takes (or needs to take) when broadcasting as opposed to just bollocking anyone who might criticise him.

  12. @frank

    @brett

    @SteelCamp

    But if you’re bashing someone from your computer chair who’s shoes you would kiss if you met them in person I have no respect

    Don’t think I’d be kissing Phil’s shoes if I met him.

    And I could do a better job than him, so could most people who can identify a rider and call his name correctly. Shit, we were doing it the other night… Us: “there goes Boom.”

    Phil: “That looks like Nibali” No Phil, Nibbles isn’t 6’2″ and he’s wearing a National Champs jersey and has No. 1 on his back.

    Well, someone’s gone straight to his own head, hasn’t he. I’ve heard you speak, it’s not as impressive as you think.

    As someone who’s done a load of public speaking in front of large audiences I will offer this observation: how it sounds in your own head while watching a video in a room alone or with some friends is a little different than how it comes out under the scrutiny of a live audience.

    I think we owe them all a lot of respect for paving a road long before internet video and live streaming was available, and for making themselves a element of the sport.

    Stop it,

    now you’re just introducing logic and common sense into a discussion where at the start I was sure I still couldn’t stand the P1 & P2 muppet show, shit I’m convinced that the four beers I had last night made me a better analyst of the sport, but now im not so sure I have an opinion either way.  I hate that !

    Now, after that’s all said and done, my thoughts will do a complete about face after tonight’s shit commentary again !

    Bring on Keeno full time

  13. @Harminator

    @ChrisO

    Hope Tony Martin doesn’t go the same way as Cancellara. Bit of a curse on the yellow jersey this year.

    Also having slightly mixed feelings about Teklahaimanot. Nice for a young rider to get the polka dot jersey but bagging three minor bumps has the same points as winning on Mur de Huy? Get out of here…

    Agreed. Panzerwagon looked phucked at the finish but he’s total pro so might be precautions for a scan.

    Totally agree about TV coverage too. So dumbed down. Rarely get any decent insights from commentary and seldom speed and never power. All readily available to DS. Why not the audience.

    But I think it’s Paul Sherwen that has the gold mine.

    The mine may be Paul’s, but I’m pretty sure I remember reading that both Aunty Phil & Mellow Johnny are pretty heavily invested in it.

  14. @Mikael Liddy

    @Oli a reasonable point, but not knowing how much exposure you guys across the ditch get to him, I do wonder whether that might be down to him being the warm up act for PnP tasked with covering the first hour or so of the TdF coverage before things tend to get exciting (generalising I know).

    From a commentary point of view, his ability to pick riders correctly is something he’s said he prides himself on, and against the backdrop of PnP he’s a very  refreshing change. Being an Aussie, SBS use him for the majority of their spring classics coverage, calling the race out of a tiny sound studio in Sydney, relying on the same pictures being broadcast on the worldwide feed. His calls of the two Milan-San Remos prior to this year were unbelievable in regard to knowing which black Gabba-clad rider was which.

    He’s also ridiculously approachable via social media, happy to engage just about anyone when it comes to cycling related queries & very ready to explain positions he takes (or needs to take) when broadcasting as opposed to just bollocking anyone who might criticise him.

    100% agree, concur with the statements re the back in black MSR’s, he was brilliant

  15. If you’re not streaming the French commentary of the race then are you really watching Le Tour at all?

  16. @brett

    Oh dear, just watched the last km and if you need any further evidence of P&P incompetence…

    What, do you mean that they called it as Matteo Trentin ?

    Or that they didn’t seem to realise there was no point looking at Sagan 50 metres back because Stybar (formerly a.k.a Trentin) was about to cross the line?

    Or was there some equally egregious error which I missed from yelling at the screen so much?

  17. @ChrisO

    @brett

    Oh dear, just watched the last km and if you need any further evidence of P&P incompetence…

    What, do you mean that they called it as Matteo Trentin ?

    Or that they didn’t seem to realise there was no point looking at Sagan 50 metres back because Stybar (formerly a.k.a Trentin) was about to cross the line?

    Or was there some equally egregious error which I missed from yelling at the screen so much?

    Or that Uncle Phil thought that Stybar was Cav for a moment? Really? The finish was 100% not Cav’s kind of finish, Cav is much shorter than Stybar and finally, I don’t think Cav’s ever worn RED shoes. I mean, it’s just embarrassing that PL gets highly paid to swan about France and do such a piss poor job. Again, PL has become an institution to the point where his obvious failings are trumped by his fame. If he was a rookie and did a screen terst he’d be shown the door after 5 minutes.

  18. @wiscot

    @ChrisO

    @brett

    Oh dear, just watched the last km and if you need any further evidence of P&P incompetence…

    What, do you mean that they called it as Matteo Trentin ?

    Or that they didn’t seem to realise there was no point looking at Sagan 50 metres back because Stybar (formerly a.k.a Trentin) was about to cross the line?

    Or was there some equally egregious error which I missed from yelling at the screen so much?

    Or that Uncle Phil thought that Stybar was Cav for a moment? Really? The finish was 100% not Cav’s kind of finish, Cav is much shorter than Stybar and finally, I don’t think Cav’s ever worn RED shoes. I mean, it’s just embarrassing that PL gets highly paid to swan about France and do such a piss poor job. Again, PL has become an institution to the point where his obvious failings are trumped by his fame. If he was a rookie and did a screen terst he’d be shown the door after 5 minutes.

    Have they got worse over the years or are we suffering from the benefits of everything being in glorious HD these days?

    When I were a lad you could only really work out who riders were in the long shots from the helicopters from their jerseys and having a rough idea of which group was which and who was in it.

    I suspect we were wrong just as much as the commentators back then, only no-one had a clue.

  19. @Mikael Liddy

    Yeah, he seems like a good guy and, as I said, knowledgeable so I’m not hating on him, I just can’t get into him as a commentator. It’s just how I feel.

  20. Great to see Cav back.

    Distinctly unimpressed with Sagan. Seems like he’s actually trying to just place in all the sprints not win – yesterday he sat and watched Stybar ride away and was looking around marking anyone else so he could ride for second.

    One green jersey without winning a stage is unfortunate, two begins to look like crappyness.

  21. Love this man. His panache, courage, fucking outstanding guns, resilience, wonky faced handsomeness and cobblestone crushing awesomeness. I’m not gay but if I was…

  22. @chris

    Have they got worse over the years or are we suffering from the benefits of everything being in glorious HD these days?

    I’ll give NBC credit for spending the $$$ for proper coverage, from having former pros as commentators, reporters on the finish line, following the peloton, and buying all the video rights, and then putting on a four-hour broadcast. Excellent.

    Problem is the need to fill dead air with endless feature segments explaining bike racing, or picking their favorites for the day, or answering questions from Twitter. I just don’t learn anything from these guys. And “Ask Bobke”?! Has anyone tuned in to “Ask Bobke”? Would anyone admit watching “Ask Bobke”?

    Two recommendations; (1) Phil Ligget must stop shilling for Minions. It’s a movie for 5-year olds and does not help his stature as a cycling broadcast institution (however creaky that is). (2) If Bob Roll won’t take his next paycheck and go see a dentist, then we should launch a Kickstarter campaign and pay for it ourselves.

  23. Christ almighty Paul Sherwen has one idea in his head and he keeps repeating it.

    He even repeats the fact that he’s repeating it. “It’s all about the final two kilometres, as I’ve said to you since the start Phil.”

    STFU then if you’ve already said it, at least a dozen times.

    And just to illustrate how poor the coverage is – the TV not the commentators.

    So this year every rider has a transponder fitted which gives live data as they ride. Why are we having time checkpoints every 10km when it would be perfectly possible to have virtual positions at every point in the TT. You could show one team on screen and their nearest rivals as virtual ghosts at any time. The lack of imagination is what annoys me.

  24. I do love Carlton Kirby’s innuendo and I don’t mind the odd Kirby-gasm. I find Sean Kelly a bit tough going despite him being a legend. I’ve enjoyed Eurosport’s coverage of the classics and other stage races during the whole season with a mix of Magnus Backstedt, Dan Lloyd and Matt Stephens.

    I was talking with a SBS presenter and he was pretty frank about his opinion of Phil and Paul which was at odds with was he’s read off the autocue. I asked him about when Phil said he would retire if COTHO was guilty and the fact he hadn’t. The presenter’s reply was that Phil loves the money too much. I now stream Eurosport to avoid Phil and Paul when I can.

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